Any given demolition/construction site is rife with hazards. As industrial demolition contractors, safety is our first priority. Today we’re taking a look at a specific type of construction hazard: Unsecured objects.
An unsecured object is anything that could fall over—in other words, any item that isn’t tied down or otherwise held in place. Glass, structural elements, and even utility lines can be considered unsecured objects. As unsecured objects often seem innocuous, contractors must be especially vigilant in looking out for potential dangers on the job.
Unsecured objects may fall down on workers. Or, an unsecured object may fall onto an electric line, putting contractors at risk of being shocked. Alternatively, an unsecured object that falls onto a tank may cause leakage of hazardous substances.
To protect construction and demolition contractors, follow these unsecured object safety tips:
- Secure any objects that could fall onto workers below.
- Assess equipment and tanks that could contain hazardous gases, chemicals, or flammable elements. Wait to move these items until the dangerous substances have been identified, and a plan of action has been developed.
- Make sure all utility lines are shut off, capped, or otherwise controlled before work begins. (Be sure to notify utility companies prior to controlling their lines.)
- Install canopies, debris catch netting, catch platforms, and sidewalk sheds to minimize the danger of falling objects.
- Empty any tanks and equipment of hazardous substances. Use specialized testing equipment, such as a combustible gas indicator, to ensure no dangerous elements remain.
- Create walkways so that workers can reach any area without walking directly on exposed beams. For safety, walkways should be a minimum of 18 inches wide, and constructed of 2-inch thick wood. As necessary, install stringers for support.
- Stack materials carefully to avoid collapse or sliding.
- Make sure all workers wear appropriate safety equipment, including hardhats, safety glasses, and respiratory support if required when emptying tanks and equipment.
- Keep all site equipment in good working order to prevent unforeseen breakage. Check on the performance of cranes, backhoes, and all other equipment regularly. A poorly maintained piece of equipment is an accident waiting to happen.
- Educate workers on how to properly work around fall hazards. For instance, workers should avoid working under in-operation cranes.
- Place warning signs around the site to remind workers of fall hazards.
- Never overload equipment; follow manufacturers’ weight and use guidelines.
These safety methods should be carefully followed by all Industrial Demolition Contractors. Portland poses its own special set of threats—such as wet surfaces, made muddy and slippery by the Rose City’s notorious rain. Here at Elder Demolition, we are serious about safety, including protection from unsecured objects. We rely on our insurance broker, Assurety NW, as well as the National Demolition Association and Associated General Contractors for information on safety best practices. We also ensure our workers have the education they need to stay safe on the job. Every team member receives fall protection training annually, in addition to extensive hazardous materials training. Finally, we invest in the best demolition equipment to keep our workers effective and safe.